As we wait patiently to see when we can begin to resume some semblance of normal, everyday life—whatever that may look like—many of us are being confronted with grooming situations we’ve long since outsourced to highly skilled professionals. From gray hairs and bushy brows to overgrown roots and bikini lines, our beauty routines have taken a hit. Don’t even get me started on the mess I created while removing my gel nail polish a few weeks back.
While I, for one, cannot wait to get back to the salons and spas to have those beauty experts do what they do best, we thought it prudent to get some tips on the whole home waxing situation so we all don’t hurt ourselves or make our glam squads’ work even more difficult when businesses re-open.
My amazing aesthetician Jennifer Hachman, who usually works out of the Salon Lofts downtown, offers up some advice if you’re trying that whole hair removal thing from the privacy of your own bathroom.
PREP YOUR SKIN BEFORE YOU TRY ANYTHING
Make sure the skin is clean and dry before you start. Put a little baby powder over the area before you apply the wax and that should help absorb excess oils that can cause a failure.
MAKE SURE YOU HAVE GOOD LIGHTING…AND PLENTY OF TIME
Lip: The lip is painful, but the best place to start since the goal is to get all of the hair and the skin is thicker than your eyelid. Apply the wax in the direction of the hair growth, lay the strip down over the wax, pull your skin tight and then rip the strip. When you do that, make sure to go parallel to your face, don’t lift straight up or you will bruise.
Brows: It’s best to take an eyeliner and draw over the hairs you want to remove, then apply the wax on that line. Also apply the wax in the direction your hair grows (this is key whenever you’re waxing!). Most importantly, place the strip only on the wax line. Do not place the strip over your entire eye brow—this is how you will wax it off totally. Again, make sure to rip the strip in the opposite direction of the hair growth, hold the skin super tight, and pull parallel.
Flat toothpicks are usually the best applicator tools. Every at-home wax kit usually comes with round sticks and those are just too hard to work with.
Bikini Line/Legs: if you want to do the bikini line or your legs, get the strips that already have the wax on them. You apply them to the area and rub your hand over them to warm them up. Once again, hold the skin tight and pull in the opposite direction. At-home Brazilian waxing is not something I can recommend anyone attempt. It’s very difficult to do and has a high likelihood of major accidents.
If you buy a stripless wax kit, you do not apply a strip on top of the wax to remove the hair. You apply the wax and then wait 2 minutes or so for it to harden and then once again pull parallel to the skin. Stripless wax is a lot harder to work with, so I recommend getting the strip kind. However, if that’s all you can find, make sure to put some paper towels down to catch any drips.
BEST AT-HOME PRODUCT RECOMMENDATIONS
The Sally Hansen kits are usually the best for at home. They come with a pre-wax cleanser as well as an after wax lotion. Nads is also a good brand—remember they had an infomercial back in the day?!? Both brands have strip wax, stripless, and pre-made wax sheets.
THE BIGGEST MISTAKES PEOPLE MAKE—AKA, DON’T TRY THESE AT HOME
It’s often lifting the wax straight up instead of parallel, which is why I emphasized that so often earlier. It will cause you to rip skin off along with the hairs—and nobody wants that. Another reason that can happen is if you’re not holding the skin taut as you pull. I also think it’s tempting to buy a whole wax pot and attempt to melt an entire can of wax and go about it that way, you will only make a huge mess and waste a lot of money.
EXTRA SPECIAL EXPERT ADVICE
Take your time. Make sure you are SOBER—drinks can wait until after you’re done. Take ibuprofen 30 minutes before you start. And if you are prone to post-wax breakouts, use some hydrogen peroxide on the area afterwards and also run an ice cube over the freshly waxed area to soothe the skin and close the pores.
OH, AND IF YOU SPILL…
If you spill wax on a hard surface, you can use baby oil to get it up. If you spill it on carpet, grab a sheet of wax paper and an iron. Put the wax paper over the spill and use the iron on a low setting on top of it, like you would if you spilled candle wax. If you get wax stuck on your skin, again use the baby oil to get it off. Remember, the least amount of wax on your applicator the better, you can always add more but if you get a huge glob on there it’s a lot harder to get it off. Finally, if you’re using one of the microwave kits, test the wax on your inner wrist before applying it. If it’s too hot there it is too hot for your face—or anywhere else on your body.
You can book an appointment with Jennifer for waxing, facial and body treatments, massages, and more here.
Abby Gardner is a former beauty editor and the executive editor of Indy Maven. Her mother taught her at a very, very young age that her thick brows were best left to professionals like Jennifer and she learned that lesson all too well in the mid-‘90s.